August 18, 2009
After last week's bit of rain and cooler temps, the temps are back in the high 70s here on the island. A bluebird day and a gorgeous view of Mt. Baker this afternoon just topped off our time with the whales. The L12s and a few other Orcas were out on the west side of San Juan today. The rest of the Residents were too north, coming south from the coal docks...a bit out of reach.
We met up with L41 (Mega) and his sister L77 (Matia). Orcas are identified by their dorsal fin and the white patch behind it. I have a really tough time identifying L77 from her younger sis L94...both Orcas have a small nick 1/3 down the dorsal fin, as well as open V saddle patch on the left and a solid saddle patch on the right! Anyhow the nick looked a little more like that of L77. Bro and sis were spread out from each other...changing direction constantly...my guess is there was some fishing going on. A bit later we saw 2 salmon jump clear out of the water!
Had a few other Orcas (2 males and 1 female) coming south from the Lime Kiln lighthouse just cruising right along. And for the number of boats out there today, I must say it was pleasing to see almost every boat giving the Orcas at least 100 yards of space if not more. A thanks to Soundwatch & Straitwatch out there today monitoring vessel traffic and increasing boater awareness on vessel behaviour around Orcas.
We topped the trip off by circumnavigating San Juan Island and taking a look at harbor seals and a few bald eagles before returning to Friday Harbor.
Hope you all are enjoying the sun-a-shining!
-Jaclyn Van Bourgondien, naturalist, San Juan Safaris.
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